Guy Wins Megavalanche Class On Singlespeed Hardtail

Frank Schneider is one bad mofo

By Vernon Felton
Photos by Hoshi Yoshida

Frank Schneider is a hard, hard man.

This, apparently, explains why the former World Cup DH racer decided to race Megavalanche’s Masters Challenger Class on a hardtail—a singlespeed hardtail—and won. Schneider also finished second, overall, in the Mega Challenger Cup.

Apparently it’s not enough to compete in one of the toughest marathon downhill races known to man. Nope, he had to do it with the cycling equivalent of both hands tied behind his back. Oh, and he started the race from back in third row, which meant he needed to pass 40 riders to take that lead position.


Nothing like high-speed surfing down a glacier amidst the carnage of dozens of riders crashing their brains out and calling for their mamas. Seriously, why the hell is this race not on television?

By the time “Schneidi” got to the end of the glacier section (just in case you forgot, the race begins atop a glacier and, in its initial minutes, consists of people in full face helmets crashing and skidding at dangerously high speeds across the ice) he’d already passed 30 competitors. Schneider then picked off the remaining ten on the high-speed, technical singletrack sections and, yes, he did it with one effing gear.

One gear. One f@%king gear. Dang. Gates Carbondrive: you can immerse the thing in mud and filth and it just keeps on keeping on.

Schneider was riding a Nicolai hardtail, equipped with a Gates Carbondrive belt. It’s the set up he generally rocks, so clearly the whole belt-drive thing works for him. I’d say something at this point about how we tested this same belt-drive system and found it quite rugged, but anything we have to say on the subject seems sort of puny and insignificant at this point in the narrative. So, uh, yeah, there you have it.

The video clip below isn’t of Schneider humbling racers on state-of-the-art, six-inch travel bikes—it’s just really fast and phenomenal trail riding footage, but it’s well worth clicking. Enjoy.

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  • Sandpaper

    SS Hardtails for life. IDK if SS is a disadvantage, hardtail kinda is depending on the terrain. Either way, proves the point its the rider, not teh bike.

  • Disco

    BMX’ers do it rigid too, all it takes is plenty of balls, no fear and skills that could feint a rattlesnake. Theroetically us old guys with dodgy hips, knees and other creaky pivots can get the same look with a hammerschmidt and Alfine sans tensioner though in my experience the two speed front is still superior and lighter weight. In racing though more mechanical parts are merely opportunities for failure coupled with extra weight; competition thrives when relieved of the burden of being universally appealing.

  • Kurt

    Oh yeah…. and he’s riding flats. Give ‘er, eh?

  • Kurt

    At least flats in the video – looks like he’s clipped in for the race

  • Dan

    Cool… but just for the record, this challenger thing is far from the times from the main race on Sunday. Remy Absalon won it overall with a 0:41:19. Hardtail guy here had 0:58:50 which was the time of the 174th placed guy on Sunday.

    (And he’s still much better than I’ll ever be!)

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  • funnytanlines

    what was his gear ratio?

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